Louis Milani Elementary School

Biographies



Ms. Cathreene Ingham-Watters

Principal

In Education Since 2000

(510) 818-3600

cwatters@newarkunified.org

 

I was a teacher at Bunker Elementary for 13 years and then the principal at Musick Elementary for the last two years. This is my 16th year in NUSD. I am proud to call Newark my hometown and be a NMHS alumnus (Go Cougars!). My son, Ryan, is a first grader and loves to dance, swim, and make up routines with his ventriloquist dummies. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, watching TV, taking hikes, and going to the beach. I enjoy working at Milani because of the endless commitment of the staff for their students' success. I love to see the children's bright eyes and big smiles each day. We are also working hard looking forward to the Bunker/ Milani Merger in 2016-2017.



 

Ms. Judy.jpgMs. Judy Farrow
Office Manager
In Education Since 2000
(510) 818-3602
jfarrow@newarkunified.org

 

I have been the Office Manager at Milani for over 14 years now and every day is a new experience that I wouldn’t change for anything.  I love working with the students as they never fail to amaze me in so many different ways.   I have two sons and three grandchildren who live in San Diego.  In my spare time when I’m not at work I love crocheting, sewing and watching movies.  And most of all going home to my girls (dogs) Bella and Stella after a long day and just relaxing and reading a good book!

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Ms. Toya Lemus
Office Clerk & EL Liaison

In Education Since 2005

(510) 818-3603

dlemus@newarkunified.org

 

I am elated to be part of the Milani family! I was an office clerk at the District Child Care Office for nine years. I also worked in Child Nutrition as the Account Technician. I enjoy working at an elementary school and getting to know the kids....not only do they bring life, but it's a constant reminder of why I love being here....to make a difference and have impact in their lives! During my free time, I love spending time with my two daughters and husband. 

 

 

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Mrs. Rosa Leon
Kindergarten Teacher
Teaching Since 2001
(510) 818-3614
rmleon@newarkunified.org

 

Hello everyone! I am very fortunate because this is my 15th year teaching Kindergarten. It is great to see the educational, social, and emotional growth students make throughout the school year. My very patient and supportive husband and I raised two terrific sons of whom we are very proud. I am bilingual in Spanish and enjoy reading, walking, and spending time with all my family, including my parents and seven siblings. My favortite song is "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.

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Ms. Michelle Leipelt
TK/ Kindergarten Teacher
Teaching Since 1998
(510) 818-3612
mleipelt@newarkunified.org

 

Hello Milani Families! My name is Ms. Leipelt, and I am so lucky to be working at our wonderful school teaching the best grade ever...Kindergarten! Our Kindergarten days are filled with learning letters and sounds, counting and rhyming, exploring and experimenting. We are always super excited and busy, and I love it! When I am not at school, I spend my time crafting, baking, and playing with my two wonderfully handsome sons and my terrific husband. Together we make sure to spend lots of family time with our cute Chihuahua and speedy Greyhound. Life sure is good!

 

 

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Mrs. Demetria Moresi

1st Grade Teacher

Teaching Since 2001
(510) 818-3616
dmoresi@newarkunified.org

 

Hello Milani! I grew up in Newark and still work and live here. I have been teaching first grade at Milani for 15 years. I enjoy all the energy and excitement that first graders are filled with and the smiles on their faces when learning to read.  When I am not at work, I love spending time with my husband and two daughters. We enjoy trying new restaurants, exploring new places, and watching movies.

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Mrs. Stacy Morrow
1st Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2000
 

I love being part of the Milani team! In 4th grade I had an amazing teacher who saw something special in me, and he inspired me to become a teacher too! I taught for 14 years in Redwood City, and am enjoying my new role as a 1st grade teacher at Milani. I am married to a special education teacher and I have a son in first grade and a new baby girl. I love taking pictures, running, eating out at restaurants, reading, and taking our dog for walks.

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Ms. Lina Tam
2nd Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2002
(510) 818-3615
ltam@newarkunified.org

 

I have been teaching at Milani for 14 years. I love the excitement of 2nd graders as they build their skills to become independent learners. When I'm away from school, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two young children. We visit museums, bake, read, and have fun together.

 

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Ms. Jenie Chang
2nd Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2002
(510) 818-3621

jchang@newarkunified.org

 

I have been a teacher for 14 years, spending my entire career thus far at Milani. I am very much enjoying the curiosity and excitement that my 2nd grade students bring to the classroom this year!

I was born and raised in California's central valley and attended UC Berkeley for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. At home, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two children. We love exploring new places and eating yummy food together. I am an avid sports fan and love to cheer for my favorite teams--the SF Giants, the 49ers, the Warriors, and the Cal Bears. I also like to read and watch movies.

 

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Mrs. Janet Zutler
3rd Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 1998
jzutler@newarkunified.org

 

This is my fifth year teaching 3rd grade. I taught 6th grade for three years and Special Education 1st, 2nd, 3rd, for nine years. It doesn't matter what grade I teach, the best part of teaching for me is the excitement in a child's eye when they learn something new. When I'm not at work, I love spending time with my family. Together we enjoy hiking, camping, riding bikes, and exploring new places.

 

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Ms. Aimee Jocson
3rd Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2002

In Education Since 1998

(510) 818-3618
ajocson@newarkunified.org

 

I have been teaching in Newark since 2002. Many of those years, I was a Kindergarten teacher at Graham Elementary. I joined the Milani family in 2012. I enjoy learning with and about my students as we experience third grade together- multiplication and division, cursive, crayfish, literature and expository texts, and a lot of writing! When I'm not at work, I'm busy at home with my husband and five children. We love biking, reading, and traveling together.

Check out my class webpage here

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Mr. Chris Accarizzi
3rd/ 4th Grade Teacher

In Education Since 1992

(510) 818-3634
caccarizzi@newarkunified.org

 

I am married to Sandi. We have two boys and one girl. The "boys" are 29 and 23 and our daughter is 27. We have four lovely cats. In addition to education, I have a counseling background and I'm a local realtor. My hobbies include: soccer, cars, Italian culture, and many others. I like to teach so I can help the next generation prepare for the future. I like Milani because the staff and students are fantastic.

Mrs. Chantri.jpgMrs. Marlene Chantri
4th Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2005
(510) 818-3638
mchantri@newarkunified.org

 

I enjoy being a Fourth Grade Teacher at Milani. This is my second year at Milani. Previously, I taught for nine years in Redwood City. I enjoy getting to know my students and witnessing the different ways they can learn. When I'm not teaching, I'm spending time with my husband and my dog. We are very excited to meet our new baby boy in May!

 
 

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Ms. Jemi Park
4th/ 5th Grade Teacher

(510) 818- 3625

jpark@newarkunified.org

 

I am delighted to work in Newark. I was born in Germany and grew up in San Diego. I have been teaching for eight years from grades 2-6. I have my Masters in Education from Pepperdine University. I hope my students will become intrinsically motivated and develop a life-long love of learning. I look forward to a great year!
 

 

 

 

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Ms. Sabrina Gordon

5th Grade Teacher

In Education Since 2012

(510) 818-3617

sgordon@newarkunified.org

 

Hello Milani Families! My name is Ms. Gordon and I am excited to join the Milani community. I received my BA in Sociology from CSU East Bay with my concentration in Social Services and Child Development. I am currently completing the internship portion of my teaching credential through National University. I have a son in second grade and a baby daughter. In my free time, I enjoy drawing, singing, scrapbooking, and spending time with my children.

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Mrs. Joana Horning

5th/ 6th Grade Teacher

Teaching Since 2012

(510) 818-3622

jhorning@newarkunified.org

 

I am very excited to join the Milani team and Newark Unified! Providing access to quality education has been a lifelong commitment. Prior to being a teacher, I practiced Education Law with an emphasis on equity issues. As an educator, I am dedicated to providing my students with a classroom environment where rigor and purpose is at the center of our daily learning. My family and I enjoy traveling, outdoor events, and music. 

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Ms. Lindsay Affleck
6th Grade Teacher
Teaching Since 2006
(510) 818-3619
laffleck@newarkunified.org

 

I am a proud product of Cal State University, Hayward. I received my BA in Liberal Arts with an option in Early Childhood Development, followed by my teaching credential. I branched out a bit and attended Cal State University, East Bay for a masters degree in curriculum. This is my tenth year teaching, 7 of those years have been right here at Milani and 4 of them have been teaching a multigrade class. My favorite thing about 5th grade is studying the states and capitals. Science camp is by far the biggest perk to teaching 6th grade! I do miss all of the fun activities I used to do with first and second grade students. In my free time I'm usually outdoors, I enjoy almost every sport and love to do extreme activities! During the summer months you can find me in the swimming pool.

 
 

Mrs. Theis.jpgMrs. Mia Theis

Intervention Teacher
Teaching Since 2001
(510) 818-3628
mdistasi@newarkunified.org

 

I work with students who are not yet at grade level in language arts and/or math. Before coming to Milani, I taught first and fourth grades, and earned a Reading Specialist credential. When I'm not at school, I love to cook, bake, and made candy. My husband and I love to travel and try new restaurants, and we recently adopted a big, friendly dog named Peanut. Last but not least, I love to read!

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Ms. Sarah Harris

Intervention Teacher

In Education Since 2005, Teaching Since 2011

(510) 818-3633

sharris@newarkunified.org

 

I am from the Northwest where I grew up and went to college. My family is originally from the East Coast. I have traveled throughout the US and have lived in Oakland for 10 years. I worked in schools there before teaching in Newark. In my free time, I like to be active outdoors (running, biking, rock-climbing), play the piano, listen to music, read, and spend time with my fiance, Malcolm. I enjoy teaching because I get to share my love of reading with young people. I like working at Milani because of the welcoming, friendly, passionate, and hard hard-working teachers here. 

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Ms. Husna Khan
Science Resource Teacher
Teaching Since 2004

(510) 818- 3611

hkhan@newarkunified.org

 

My name is Husna and I was born in the diverse land of India. I was the third child born to my parents and have one sister and two brothers. I was very little when my family moved to Dubai. Hence, I grew up in the land of the desert, which is now a famous oasis known for its superlatives- tallest building, largest mall, biggest aquarium, largest man-made islands...you name it and Dubai doesn't fail to impress. Juggling between the two lands of India and United Arab Emirates gave me a lot of exposure to the diverse cultures, languages, and food; moving to America has only added to that learning experience. My experience made me multi-lingual and I can read, speak, and write in four languages. 

 

When not teaching, I like spending time with family, traveling, and exploring new places with my husband. I also enjoy watching my two-year old daughter meet her milestones each day and love hanging out with her.

 

Having been born in a family of educators, I had enough people to motivate me and I knew that I wanted to be when I grew up. It all began with volunteering in my dad's school back in Dubai as I was completing my college education and teacher training. The volunteer work helped me grow as a professional, and ever since, I haven't looked back.  I bring about a rich experience of teaching Science at elementary school and STEM-based projects, from various locations such as Dubai, Fremont, Hayward, and Alameda, across a period of 10 years. 

 

I am now a proud member of the Milani family and appreciate everyone who contributes to the school in their subtle ways. I am also thankful for the supportive staff who are ever ready to lend a hand in need and the wonderful community that makes Milani what it is... a close-knit family radiating with warmth and joy.

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Ms. Lynne Davies
Speech Pathologist

In Education Since 1995

(510) 818-3639

ldavies@newarkunified.org

 

I grew up in MA and have been in CA since 1979. I was married in 1983 and later enrolled at Cal State Hayward/ East Bay and earned my BS and MS degrees while raising children (now ages 29, 27, 25, and 23). I have been the caregiver to my mother for 11 years. I enjoy travel, the gym, walks/hikes, reading (bookclubs), musicals, skiing, and my three cats. I enjoy being in a school environment and working with children to achieve his/her greatest level of communication and to be a more confident and successful individual. This is my first year at Milani. Staff has been friendly and accommodating. 

 

 

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Ms. Christina Keefe
School Psychologist

 

 

 

 

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Coach Tim Hess

PE Specialist

In Education Since 1989

thess@newarkunified.org

 

I grew up and still live in Newark.  During my time in NUSD, I had several teachers and coaches who poured into my life and greatly influenced me.  I hoped to be such an influence in other people's lives and so chose education as my career path.  I've taught and coached in Newark since 1989.  My wife and I have two daughters (both teachers) and a son who is in college.  I enjoy competing in triathlon and obstacle course races. I truly believe in the value of physical education to prepare children to be physically and mentally active, fit and healthy for life.

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Mrs. Nakishia Lopes

Resource Specialist

(510) 818-3637

nlopes@newarkunified.org

 

I am happy to be part of the Milani team! This is my fifth year teaching Resource. I enjoy teaching Resource because I have the opportunity to work with amazing groups of students everyday. On my free time, I like to spend time with my husband, two children, and my dog. We like doing outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, and riding bikes.

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Mrs. Wendi Brown

SDC, Grades 3-5

Teaching Since 2003

(510) 818-3630

wbrown@newarkunified.org

 

I was born and raised in Redwood City. I taught in Redwood City for 11 years prior to teaching here in Newark. I have two children: a seven year old son and a two-year old daughter. I love working at Milani because it is an amazing school community! The students, families, and staff are awesome. 

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Ms. Angela Lee

Library Clerk

In Education Since 2014

(510) 818-3642

alee@newarkunified.org

 

Angela "Ms. Angela" Lee grew up in Newark and went from Bunker Elementary all the way to Newark Memorial High School. She has been around libraries all her life. As a child, she loved to spend recess and lunch in the library. This continued to junior high and high school, and when she went to college, she spent many hours between classes in the library. She even volunteers at the public libraries to teach computer skills to patrons. Reading has been a huge part of her life, and she's excited to pass on her love of books to the students of Milani. 


Mrs. Melinda Pickens

Volunteer

In Education Since "the beginning of time!"

(5 years in Santa Barbara, 32 years in NUSD, and 7 years as volunteer at Milani since retiring)

 

I have three children and five grandchildren. I love to quilt, read, weight lift, hike, and swim. I am learning to paint. I like to give back to Newark Unified School District. Milani has been very welcoming. It is nice to work with such a nice staff. 

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Mr. Dave Grandstaff

Head Custodian
 

I have been the Senior Custodian at Milani for the past four years. I take pride in keeping the school clean and safe for the students and staff. I graduated from Hayward High in 1967 and joined the US Marine Corps. I am a Vietnam veteran. The US Marine Corps taught me to serve with pride, honor, courage, and commitment, which is why when duty calls, I will do whatever it takes to serve the staff, students, and parents of Milani with pride and a positive attitude. On my days off, I enjoy camping with my family, walking, fishing, and dancing with my wife.   

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Mrs. Shirley Armstrong

Food Services
 

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Ms. Eva Feroge

Food Services
 

 

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Ms. Filomena Ferro

Instructional Aide, Grades K-1

Campus Monitor
In Education Since 2007

fferro@newarkunified.org

 

I am the youngest of four. Been married for 15 years. We have two children, a 14 year old daughter and a 13 year old son (both born on March 30!). I became a hairdresser in 1985. In 2007, when my daughter started Kindergarten, I wanted to be more involved in school. I became a campus monitor at Milani. Two years later, I was offered a classroom aide job. Since then, I've learned so much about kids and realized how much I love working with them. I am so blessed to have two wonderful jobs. Besides working, I love camping with my family and being involved in my Portuguese halls. 
 

 

Ms. Sylvia

Campus Monitor
 


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Ms. Sophia

Campus Monitor